The warmer summer months are almost here in Washington; which means there will be a lot of water activities that you and your family can enjoy. In order to ensure that everyone is a safe boater here are some guidelines from The Official Boating Handbook of the Washington State Parks and a list of the most frequently violated water laws:
REGISTRATION: All Personal Watercraft must be registered with the State of Washington and the operator must have available for inspection the vessel registration (similar to a car registration).
SPEEDING: Vessels are limited to a maximum speed of 7 nautical miles per hour (8mph): within 100 yards of any shoreline, pier, shore installation or restricted area in Lake Washington. Within 200 yards of any shoreline upon Puget Sound. Upon all the waters of Lake Union, Portage Bay, Union Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal from Shilshole Bay to Webster Point.
PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE (PFD): Operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device or life vest.
VESSEL NUMBERING: All Personal Watercraft must have registration numbers, in contrasting colors, displayed on both sides of the forward section of the hull. (A yearly decal must be displayed in conjunction with the numbers).
AGE LIMITS: The operator of a Personal Watercraft must be at least 14 years of age. It is unlawful for a person to lease, hire or rent a Personal Watercraft to any person under 16 years of age.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER: Every Personal Watercraft must be equipped with a Fire Extinguisher (usually carried in a compartment at the rear of the machine).
NEGLIGENT OPERATION: Operating a vessel in a manner so as to endanger or likely endanger any person or property or operate at a rate of speed greater than will permit him/her to exercise reasonable care or control of the vessel. (Such as wake jumping too close to boats, speeding too close to other vessels, the shoreline, swimming beaches or launch ramps).
MUFFLER: It is unlawful to operate any engine on the waters of the city of Seattle without a muffler or silencer of sufficient size to prevent excessive or unusual noise from the exhaust of the engine.
HOURS OF OPERATION: Personal Watercraft may be operated from sunrise to sunset.
RULES OF THE ROAD: On Seattle waters, all vessels must comply with the International Rules for Preventing Collisions at Sea
- Use protective equipment: Wear your PFD but also use eye protection, gloves and deck shoes. A wet suit will help protect against hypothermia.
- Use care when wake jumping. Stay well clear of other vessels. Wake jumping produces a large percentage of the complaints of negligence directed at personal watercraft operators. It also accounts for a number of injuries incurred by personal watercraft operators.
- Don’t Drink and Ride: Alcohol and drugs affect your judgment. The added affect of sun and physical exertion compounds the effects of alcohol and increases your risk of being involved in an accident.
- Whistle: Carry a whistle for signaling and warning.
- Tow Rope: Store a long rope in good condition on the vessel.
- Lanyard: Wear the kill-switch safety Lanyard when operating your personal watercraft (PWC). The Lanyard attaches to the operator and the vessel to automatically shut off the engine if the operator is separated from the craft.
- Take a boating safety course offered by organizations such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron.
Irresponsible acts by a few operators and careless operation by new or uninformed riders and owners have resulted in numerous boating accidents throughout Washington State. Most of these accidents involve injuries and some have resulted in death. Accidents involving Personal Watercraft have almost doubled in the last few years.
Outdoor Activities, Seattle, Swimming
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Biking outdoors and cycling in doors is a method of exercise used by many, especially in the greater Seattle area. Seattle has great trails that are used by bikers daily. One well known trail is the Burke-Gilman Trail, which begins in Ballard and ends in Kenmore. This is about a 14 mile ride with two paved trails that take you along some gorgeous views. The second commonly used trail is the Arboretum, which leads through the Arboretum down to Seward Park or up toward the Burke-Gilman trail. It can be heavily populated with traffic, but has wonderful scenery and plenty of shade. If you are new to the Seattle area or want to try something different, Seattle Heritage Bicycle Tours offer half-day or full day tours on many different routes around Seattle.
Biking Rules in Seattle:
- Always wear a helmet, it’s the Law.
- Remember to use your hand signals.
Right Turn Signal
Left Turn Signal
- If your riding on the street, you must follow all the rules of a car
- Ride in bike lanes when available to you
- Bicycles operating at night must have a white light in front and a red reflector in back
Bike Stores in the Seattle area:
Gregg’s Cycle (Green Lake)
Montlake Bike Shop (Seattle)
Velo Bike Shop (Seattle)
Road Bike: Suitable for triathlon participants and club cycling members. Best for- Pavement.
Generally a lighter weight than mountain bikes and is good for fitness, commuting long distances, events, and races. Some types are built specially for speed and racing with an aerodynamic riding position and others are made in an upright riding position.
Cruiser: Suitable for long leisurely rides. Best for- Flat roads, fun and comfort. Designed for flatter roads because these bicycles are designed with single speed. These bikes have balloon tires and are in an upright position. They are also known as beach cruisers because they are mostly used along the beach in nice weather.
Mountain Bike: Suitable for trail riding through dirt or rocky roads. Best for – Dirt, rocky trails, and gravel roads. Designed with shock absorbing features so that they can withstand dirt, rocks, sticks, roots, and bumps. Lower gears than road bikes so that they can handle steeper terrain. Mountain bikes tend to be less efficient on pavement because of their smaller diameter wheels.
Pedaling – It is normal to hop on a bike and want to only push down while you are pedaling. To be able to make you’re pedaling more efficient, you need to be pulling up as well. When your pedal gets to about 3 o’ clock on the pedal stroke, you want to pull back like you are wiping dirt off the bottom of your shoe.
Seat Position – Your seat should be positioned so that your leg is in proper line with the pedal, or in other words; KOPS/TTOPA. These abbreviations stand for Knee Over Pedal Spinal or Tibial Tuberosity (the bump right below the patella) Over Pedal Axle.
Handle Bars – The positioning of your handle bars should be between 180 degrees and 175 degrees. This is parallel with the ground below or slightly titled upward.
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Get ready! Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is bringing more Outdoor Recreational opportunities to its members.
Recently I wanted to check out Mt. Baker to get an idea of the opportunities it offers our members to climb, ski and adventure. I’m pleased to share that this summer, the Club will be launching a mountaineering aspect to our Outdoor Recreation program! Starting with an Intro to Mountaineering course; followed by a Level 1 climb on Mt. Baker. Our goal will be to have a blast and learn a ton!
In addition to the prep courses, this summer we will have opportunities available to climb some of the beautiful peaks that surround us. We’ll be focusing on teaching/offering hands-on knowledge about mountaineering, safety, and the beauty of our wilderness in the Pacific Northwest.
We’ll be announcing more details about SAC Mountaineering classes and climbs this spring/summer. Please contact Brandyn if you want to get on the early registration list for our climbs or to learn more about the programs we are planning.
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Do you consider yourself to be safe when you are on or near the water? Do you have the appropriate safety gear for any of your water activities? Are you on a boat; are there enough lifejackets for everyone on board? Are those lifejackets within arms reach? Do you have all children 12 and under wearing life jackets at all times while on the boat? 80% of all drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing lifejackets.
These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you embark on your next boating or any type of water adventure.
What do you do if someone falls off of a dock and doesn’t know how to swim? Do you go in after them? Are you a good swimmer? Do you have any lifeguard training skills? The best way to help is to lie down on the dock reaching with your arm or leg if you cannot reach them that way take off your jacket or shirt if need be your pants get a good grip on one end and say grab my coat or arm. Don’t jump in and try to save them yourself. There have been to many times where either both people end up in trouble or the rescuer is the one that drowns. If you have an unopened large bag of chips can be tossed to the victim for them to float on. Then you can give them instructions how to get to shore.
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After many years of being a lifeguard at a near by lake it still surprises me of how many people take water for granted. As much fun as it is playing in and out of the water we must respect the ramifications as to the dangers it can impose. Did you know it only takes a teaspoon of water to drown?
Here is the account of one of many near drowning experiences that I have encountered in my career as a lifeguard.
My first day, hour, 15 minutes of being on the lifeguard stand at the lake I watched a mother place her toddler with her 3 year old sister in the water at the shore. Then the mother walked about 10 feet away from both children sat down facing the water but put a magazine in front of her face. This happened just after I made the announcement “all children 6 years of age and younger must have a parent within arms reach at all times”. Within only a couple of minutes the toddler tipped over, she tried to push herself up and drifted out further. I jumped off of the lifeguard chair and had the baby in my arms. The mother was still reading her magazine. She didn’t look up until I was calling her and the toddler started to cry. As I told the mother I tell all of you stay within arms reach at all times. This could have ended much differently in a couple of ways; I could have walked away with the toddler or she could have easily drowned. Either way it could have been a tragedy. Please don’t let this be you.
Lifeguarded swim areas are a great place to spend time. However; it is not a place to use free baby sitters. They have a lot to watch in order to keep you and your family safe.
For information on learning to swim, or improving your swimming, please contact Aquatics Instructor Kelli Zappert.
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We have had so many months of either working out inside or some people braving the rain, snow and wind to get a workout in outdoors. As soon as the sun comes out we all flock outside – looking for some vitamin D. Warmer weather means more beach time, but keep in mind the water is not nearly as warm as we may think it is. Just because we have had sun for a few days, it doesn’t heat Puget Sound and the many lakes and rivers around here rapidly.
Water temperatures range from 44 ° – 46 ° F in the winter to 54 ° – 56 ° in Spring and Summer months. The human body’s temperature run between 97 ° – 99 ° – which is a huge difference from the water temperature. Keep this in mind when you head out for your Spring and Summer activities. It only takes 1 – 4 hours of being in the water for hypothermia to affect your body. The time it takes for hypothermia to affect you depends on a few things, such as body fat the amount and type of clothing you are wearing. If you are moving you seem to keep warmer but once you stop all the heat quickly dissipates.
Children get chilled much more quickly than adults. Watch for chattering teeth and lips this is sign of being too cold. After that the lips turn from pink to purple this means get out and get warm. Typically one should think of getting out before the lips are purple.
Don’t forget the sunscreen!
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